With every outreach service trip that DCI has gone on, unexpected challenges are faced. It is the nature of providing care in hard to reach locations around the world. As you can imagine, when trying to provide any type of service while working in remote locations, issues will inevitably arise regardless of how many times we have been to that location. Of course, with each time we revisit, the issues become less severe and less complicated to resolve.
Specifically, when providing dental care to children in remote locations, we need certain amenities that are crucial to our operations. Some of the more important ones include electricity and water. While we would still be able to provide some amount of dental care without these two things, the level of treatment would be greatly compromised.
For example, we use mobile dental clinics that need electricity so Doctors can work effectively and efficiently to provide services to as many children as possible. Furthermore, we need water for rinsing and cleaning instruments for sterilization purposes. As you can imagine, when we are out in the field these two things can be hard to require. Often times, even when there is electricity present at a site we are working at, it isn’t necessarily “good,” meaning the current can fluctuate and blow the fuzes on our mobile units, which we then need to stop and repair.
Another thing we must consider and accommodate for is our amazing volunteers. When we travel to remote locations we try and stay at the best hotels possible. The problem with this is that the places that are most in need of our care are not close to the hotels that have clean water, wifi, air conditioning, etc. So while we decide to stay at these hotels for comfortability, it often places us a good distance away from the service sites. While it makes traveling a little more cumbersome, we have come to the conclusion this is a sacrifice most volunteers will make to have a more comfortable experience pre and post clinic. Although, this is not always the case. Sometimes we are able to stay at a great hotel while being relatively close the service site.
All in all, volunteers and members of DCI who travel on our international trips are aware of these facts and know it’s all a part of the experience! We always make the best of any unfavorable situation that arises. And above all else, what truly makes it all worth it, is seeing children who needed our help with big happy smiles.